BAYHAM: An Interview With Conservative Activist Scott Presler

From dog-walker to leading young conservative activist, Scott Presler is one of the  shiniest profiles among the new generation of voices on the right. Presler has combined aggressive voter registration, a message of outspoken advocacy for liberty-oriented policies, and sincere community activism, and he cuts an image that defies the general expectation for a conservative figure.

After delivering a speech to conservative activists in central city New Orleans and engaging in his trademark “clean up” program in the Tremê, Presler sat down, or rather energetically paced around, and fielded questions for the Hayride, offering his thoughts on the California recall, the GOP’s image problem, and sharp words for Star Trek actor and left-wing social media personality George Takei.

MB: Why are you a conservative activist?

SP: I definitely identify as a conservative, a Republican, I believe in freedom, I believe in liberty, I believe in the Constitution.  I believe in lower taxes.  I think those are all conservative values that defines what it means to be a Republican, but ultimately I believe in that foundation that conservatives believe that (America is) a constitutional republic. And that’s the biggest difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.  They, the Democrats, are assaulting the Constitution.  For example, they’re attempt to make DC the fifty-first state is unconstitutional and so therefore I am trying to preserve as a conservative our foundation, which is the constitution.

MB: Your activism isn’t just confined to helping candidates.  There’s also a social impact component as well.

SP: Absolutely.  Well the social component isn’t just registering new voters, which I do – I’ve registered thousands of new voters myself and have taught tens of thousands of volunteers how to register voters, but I do something a little different as opposed to just being a “talking head”…I actually practice what I preach and I go out into areas of inner cities like we did in New Orleans and clean up trash.

I walk the talk. My motto is “stop talking, starting doing” as opposed to just pointing out a problem as so many people do I actually say “Okay, here’s a problem.  Why don’t we actually DO something about it”.

So when President Trump brought up the city of Baltimore I decided that I had enough of watching people talk about it on social media and just tweeted “Hey, I’m going to Baltimore” and it forever changed my life.  And the coolest part is that you say there’s a social component is that we had members of the community who live there that had never seen anything like this.  They’d never seen people do a trash clean up and so they were coming out asking “Wait, what are you doing?” and I told them the story that we were inspired by President Trump and members of the black community were saying “thank you” for President Trump and thank you for bringing attention to this issue.

So the work that we do cleaning up the cities also has implications in that it expands conservatism and the Republican Party to people who we would not ordinarily have the opportunity to touch before.

MB: What part of New Orleans did you clean up today?

SP: We were near where Pastor Ander Pellerano (of One Accord Ministries in Avondale) does work (under the Claiborne Elevated Expressway).  We cleaned up a homeless encampment where there was a lot of trash left over.  We cleaned up about thirty bags of trash if not more.  And we probably picked up over 150 plus hypodermic needles that had been used that could have poked someone had they stepped on it.  So what we did was that we actually helped literally make the community a safer place today by picking up some of those health hazards.

MB: You touched on this in your speech in Mid City, when people think of what a conservative activist looks like, you really don’t fit that bill.

SP: No, I don’t.  I’m this longhaired millennial who speaks Spanish.  I studied Arabic while working at an elementary school in order to welcome refugees and make them feel more at home.  And I think what makes me a little bit unique is the fact that I approach politics by approaching it with compassion and approaching it with kindness.  I think we (the conservative movement) need more of that. We need a gentle touch.  We need a giant’s heart and I think the Republican Party would see much more longevity.  If we don’t just look at the outside of the longhaired millennial but we look at the content of the character, the content of the heart.  And as you saw we had over, what, I’d say two hundred people there and that shows me a Republican Party that is changing and is evolving.

The fact that these people are so inspired to come out to hear me speak, where the leadership of the Louisiana Republican Party and members of (conservative) media were there.  And that shows me that we have an evolving Republican Party.

MB: You’ve been engaged in political activity in a number of states.  Where are the next destinations on your radar and why?

SP: Here are my top states going into 2022: Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Now not that Louisiana isn’t important but look at Florida and Governor DeSantis.  (Florida) is a trifecta state: they got the (state house of representatives), the senate and the governorship.

They just passed sweeping election integrity reform.  That has huge implications to protect the vote and secure our elections.  And so therefore I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that we re-elect DeSantis.

Now I am not a big fan of (Georgia Governor) Brian Kemp.

I think that he made a debacle of the 2020 election and afterwards.  And he didn’t do anything to help protect the vote until afterwards.

In Arizona (Governor) Doug Ducey is term-limited and we will have an opportunity to elect a true conservative governor.  We will have an opportunity to replace Mark Kelly, a Democrat who was just elected to fill out (the late John McCain’s) term so he needs to run again to secure six years in the US Senate.

And then last Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin because all three of those states have Republican legislatures and those are all swing states that helped dictate the presidency, so I’m not just going to states willy-nilly…I’m doing this strategically, I’m doing this with a mission in mind, and I’m doing this with clear-eyes going into 2022 so we can have a successful 2024, winning back the presidency.

MB: You have a large following on Twitter, which has actively censored a number of conservative voices. Do you believe conservatives should abandon Twitter?

SP: No, no I don’t. Twitter changed my life.

I wouldn’t be having this interview right now if it weren’t for Twitter.  I believe in an all of the above approach to social media.  Just because they are censoring us why don’t we use the tool of the opposition in order to elect more conservative Republicans?

Get on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Parler, Gab, Telegram; create a website of your own so that way you can’t get canceled,

But the fact of the matter is that we need to be on everything.

MB: Now you have some pretty strong views on political consultants….

SP: Yes I do.

MB: Care to expound?

SP: Yeah  Look at these consultants that tell candidates running against…Maxine Waters for example, who by the numbers that the district will be nearly impossible to win.  And that means why am I spending millions of dollars in a district that I can’t win when I can strategically put that money in a swingable, flippable district.  And the terrible thing about some consultants is what they do when they give these candidates high hopes and then tell them “You can win and it’s gonna be easy but there’s a price associated to my cost as a consultant”.

And some of these consultants really hurt the Republican Party and they (especially) hurts us in in 2020 because right now we are only six seats away from taking the gavel away from Nancy Pelosi.  And had we spent millions of those dollars strategically that went to (unwinnable) districts and went into the pockets of consultants, we may have a different (Congress) right now had we done this more effectively and efficiently.

MB: Why are there so many young people on the Left side of the political spectrum and how can they be won over to the conservative side?

SP: Republicans suck at messaging.

Republicans are terrible at branding; they’re awful at (public relations).

Ultimately do you know where are problem is?  Our problem is that we don’t listen.

We aren’t we having a listening tour when we go across the country, go into the communities, and just show up and say “You know what, we’re the Republican Party…we want to help.”

But in order to help the first thing we are going to do is do what God gave us and use the two ears and one mouth to open our ears and shut our trap and actually understand what young people want, what senior citizens wan, what moms want, what business owners want and then we can actually come up with a policy outline and a stronger party going into the future.

Ultimately I don’t think it’s hard to win over the young vote.  All you got to do is inspire them.

I got young people reaching out to me all the time and do you know what they’re inspired by?

They are inspired by passion and by action.

So if the Republican Party wants to make a difference, look at DeSantis.  DeSantis is a rock star with young people.  Do you know why?  Because he kept his word. Because he did what he said he’d  was going to do, very much like Trump, he made a statement and he backed it up with his actions and achieved accomplishments.

So if the Republican Party wants to be successful with anybody, all we need to do is do what we say what we are going to do.

MB: There was some big news in California as they officially certified that there will be a recall election for governor.  Do you anticipate being involved in the recall campaign?

SP: Oh absolutely.  I helped with the recall.  I helped train volunteers.  I went to San Francisco and Sacramento.  I was involved in the effort to collect signatures and I will be involved with the effort to also help a candidate ultimately I hope to beat (incumbent Governor Gavin) Newsome.

MB: Do you have a candidate in mind?

I like Richard Grenell, he’d be my candidate.  If Grenell, the former ambassador to Germany and former DNI director for President Trump, runs I would 100% in a heartbeat endorse and support his campaign.

MB: Is this your first visit to New Orleans?

SP: This is my first visit.

MB: What’s your take on the city?

SP: It’s a really interesting city.  I think it’s cool, you know, that we are right here in a home that is right next to Bourbon Street and everything is walkable.  You can go get food and coffee.  You can go over to (Jackson Square) and everything is very accessible.  I like the history and the architecture…I mean the building that we are in right now was built in 1811so there’s value in understanding that history and the historic nature of the city of New Orleans.

MB: Recently you received the American Conservative Union’s activist of the year award at the 2021 CPAC.  Has anyone from the Republican National Committee reached out to you about playing a role in their grassroots operations?

SP: No.  All the work that I’ve done has been 100% independent of the GOP, of the Republican Party. I haven’t had any funding, any help, any resources from the national GOP whatsoever.  (RNC Chairwoman) Ronna McDaniel has never called me, never reached out me, and never even congratulated me on receiving the award from CPAC.

And I don’t mean this to sound bad because I respect CPAC but they are kind of the establishment and I am more of the anti-establishment so I believe (receiving the award) was a big deal.

MB: Do you ever have any plans of running for public office one day?

SP: I am considering it but if I were to run, I would start with, because I am a man of my word, a state legislative position, so you won’t see me running for Congress.  You’ll see me running, to begin with, a state legislative position because power starts on the local level and I want to write law regarding all those things I talked about in my speech the night before.

No vaccine passports.  No mask mandates. Open our schools.  Open our businesses.  Fund the police. Protect women’s sports. Second Amendment sanctuary states.  Those are all the things we can write legislatively at the state level and protect our citizens and protect our freedoms to push back against the federal level.

MB: Do you believe gay voters have a home in the Republican Party?

SP: Absolutely.  Absolutely.  It starts with the Second Amendment.  Protect your right to defend your property against any harm coming your way.  Look at what President Trump did with his administration, working to decriminalize homosexuality across the world.  President Trump was working with Ambassador Grenell by the way.  Also he secured major funding for research for the AIDS epidemic.  Most people don’t know that.  That has helped the gay community.  And ultimately…think about it…it’s about liberty and choice.  When I’m voting as a gay person, I am not voting with my genitalia, I’m not voting with my sexuality, I am voting for the most liberty…I am voting for the most freedom.

And the way I see it especially with COVID…as a gay person…let’s say if I am a business owner, why would I vote Democrat when they’re going to mandate how I can and cannot run my business and if I have to pay my employees’ (wages) but I can’t even open my business.  Why am I going to vote Democrat?

I am going to vote Republican, the party of liberty and choice that’s going to allow me to open my business and help me pay my employees. It doesn’t have to do with sexuality; it has to do with voting for the party that’s going to give me the most freedom.  And so people need to understand that we need to stop voting with your identity or sexuality but are voting simply as an American citizen that wants to the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness protected in our country.

MB: Last question: George Takei has taken it upon himself to declare himself the human rights advocate for various identity groups, including the LGBT community though he has recently attacked a certain high profile transgendered former Olympian seeking to run for governor of California.  Would you be open to challenging Takei to a public debate?

SP: Yes I’d debate him but quite frankly I don’t see any value in debating him because I don’t believe he brings any value to the conversation.  George is just a Trump-hater who is going to oppose anything Republican despite the things I just cited how the Trump Administration has helped the gay community.

And so therefore I would debate (Takei) but I just don’t see him bringing any value to the conversation so if he’d like to, certainly I would do it and I’d like to expose why people should join the Republican Party, so George if you’re (reading this), sure…let’s go.

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